Primark commits to paying for 370 million pounds of orders during coronavirus crisis

FILE PHOTO: A Primark store is seen, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Milton Keynes, Britain, March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

LONDON (Reuters) – Fashion retailer Primark has committed to pay suppliers for 370 million pounds of orders, though all its stores are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All of Primark’s 376 stores in 12 countries have been closed since March 22, representing a loss of 650 million pounds of net sales per month.

The retailer, owned by Associated British Foods (ABF.L), had previously only committed to paying for orders that were in transit or booked for shipment by March 18.

However, it said on Monday that following talks with suppliers it would pay for an additional 370 million pounds of orders that were either in production or finished, and planned for handover by April 17.

The new commitment brings Primark’s total stock both owned and committed to nearly 2 billion pounds while its stores remain closed.

Primark said on March 23 it had informed suppliers that it would stop placing new orders. It said on Monday it hoped to re-commence placing future orders for autumn/winter stock once there is further clarification of the reopening of stores.

The retailer has also established a fund to make sure workers are paid as soon as possible for work on Primark products that were in production.

AB Foods, whose shares have fallen 23% so far this year, will publish first half results on Tuesday.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Michael Holden

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